On Sunday, September 22, This Is Me – Transgender Healthcare Campaign hosted ‘The Truth about Trans Healthcare’ rally outside of Dáil Éireann to highlight the inaction of the Department of Health and the HSE concerning improvements to the trans healthcare system in Ireland.
The call for this rally has been spurred on by the unfulfilled promises of change from both the Department of Health and the HSE with things only getting worse as time progresses. Since the organisations first rally in January 2018, waiting lists for Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) have increased as well as refusals and the psychiatric assessment barrier for those eligible are being more strictly enforced.
There is currently no top surgery providers, or any gender affirmation surgery providers in Ireland and pharmaceutical HRT shortages have become apparent.
Speaking of the importance of connection within the Irish transgender community, Sara R. Philips acknowledges the role of TENI in the fight for trans rights.
“(TENI) were formed for the community, we were formed by the community and we must listen to the community. So please let us hear your voices, let us hear what you want us to do and please engage with us going forward into what we believe will be a new era for us especially and for the community.”
Aoife Martin spoake about the progress needed for the transgender community.
“Trans healthcare is in a bad way in Ireland at the moment”, she said.
“We have a psychiatric model which means we have to see a psychiatrist to be able to access HRT and there’s waiting lists of two years and over
“The trans community are where the gay community was 30 years ago
“While socially, Ireland has moved on an awful lot with regards self-identification for trans people we’re still very, very, very far behind with the medical side of things
“That’s where all the problems are at the moment”, Martin said.
Responding to the protest, the HSE said it was “committed to improving transgender healthcare in Ireland”.
Michael Kavanagh spoke about his experience of Ireland’s healthcare system:
“The truth of the Irish trans healthcare system is that I’ve gotten more information online from strangers than my medical practitioners.
The trans community has to act as its own information and support service, not only because the current system doesn’t offer it, but it adds to our confusion and distress.”
It said it established the Gender Identity Steering Committee, which is examining governance arrangements across different agencies that deliver transgender care.
“In addition, the HSE Quality and Improvement Division has worked with leading clinicians in transgender care in Ireland and representatives of the transgender community to develop an agreed model of care for the delivery of transgender services in Ireland,” it added.
© 2019 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.
GCN has been a vital, free-of-charge information service for Ireland’s LGBTQ+ community since 1988.
During this global COVID pandemic, we like many other organisations have been impacted greatly in the way we can do business and produce. This means a temporary pause to our print publication and live events and so now more than ever we need your help to continue providing this community resource digitally.
GCN is a registered charity with a not-for-profit business model and we need your support. If you value having an independent LGBTQ+ media in Ireland, you can help from as little as €1.99 per month. Support Ireland’s free, independent LGBTQ+ media.